The Effects of Second-Hand Smoke
Imagine yourself sitting down to dinner at a restaurant. You are sitting down trying to enjoy your dinner when all you can smell is smoke. Not only are you just breathing in the smoke, it is also damaging your body at the same time. Or imagine yourself at your work place, whether it be a restaurant or office, and you are forced to breathe in second-hand smoke the entire time you are there. In this paper you will be informed of the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, and why smoking should be banned from all public places.
When you are a smoker you are making the decision to damage your own body, but little do you know you are also damaging everyone else's body that you are in the room with. John Messmer explains:
"Most of us would agree that no one should be forced to smoke. So why are all of us, including children, expected to smoke against our wills in work places, restaurants and homes? Second-hand smoke makes smokers of us all" (Messmer). New studies suggest that even a small amount of second-hand smoke can cause life-threatening changes to a non-smoker's circulatory system. A study done by Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco says that:
"Tobacco smoke pollution contains several thousands of chemicals, including: two-hundred poisons, and more than fifty chemicals that cause cancer. From a public
health standpoint, there is no debate over the importance of clean indoor air. Tobacco smoke pollution exposure is a serious health risk to all adults and children" (PA alliance). According to Alex Fir,
"Second-hand smoke or ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) is a combination of
side stream smoke coming straight from the burning tobacco and the mainstream
smoke that is exhaled by the smoker. It comprises of over 4,000 chemical
constituents, a large portion of which are the inducers of respiratory illness and
around forty are known or suspected carcinogens. About seventy to eighty
percent of ETS is from the burning tip of the cigarette and comprises of the highest
levels of nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, and various other carcinogens.
Therefore, exposure to ETS is even more injurious than directly smoking a
cigarette for an equivalent period" (Fir). John A. Glantz explains just how harmful the effects of second-hand smoke can be, even in just short periods of time, in the passage below.
"The cardiovascular system is extremely sensitive to the toxins of second-hand cigarette smoke. The toxic effects of second hand smoke occur within five minutes of exposure" (Reinberg). Dr. Joaquin Barnoya, an assistant professor of epidemiology at UCSF, found that:
"The effects of even brief periods of time being in the same room as a smoker are often nearly as bad as chronic smoking" (Reinberg). If you think about it, the smoker actually has a filter in their cigarette to help them in not breathing in all of the toxins taken in to their body, but non-smokers do not get the benefit
of having the smoke that they are breathing in to be filtered, therefore it is worse for non-smokers just being around the smoker than it is for the smoker themselves. Barnoya states just how dangerous the effects of second-hand smoke are, once again, in the following sentences.
"Non-smokers are more sensitive to cigarette smoke than are smokers. The effects of second-hand smoke are so great that we should avoid any place that is not smoke-free. We should be fighting for smoke-free environments" (Reinberg). Exposure to second-hand smoke over long periods of time can have very devastating consequences to the heart, which include an increased risk for heart attack, researchers say. Researcher Stanton A. Glantz says explains just how harmful second-hand smoke is.
"Second-hand smoke is worse than we thought. It increases the risk for a coronary event like a heart attack or long term development of arteriosclerosis. Chronic exposure...
Cited: Reinberg, Steven. "Second-hand Smoke Increases Heart Risks." Health Day.com
23 May. 2005.
Messmer, John. "The Medical Minute: Second-hand Smoking." live.psu.edu.
21 April. 2005.
Kerlik, Bobby. "PA Senator Proposes Statewide Bar and Restaurant Smoking Ban."
No-smoking.org. 21 July. 2004.
Brundtland, Gro Harlem. "WHO Calls for Worldwide Ban on Public Smoking." cancer.org. 19 June. 2001.
Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco. Clean Indoor Air. 23 Nov. 2005.
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